Leap Therapeutics (NASDAQ: LPTX) and Leica Biosystems Enter Agreement For Development of Companion Diagnostic for DKK1 Detection

Leap Therapeutics (NASDAQ: LPTX) and cancer diagnostics firm Leica Biosystems have entered an agreement to develop a companion diagnostic for detecting Dickkopf-related protein 1 (DKK1). 

DKN-01 targets DKK1 for cancer treatment

The test will aid in the clinical advancement of Leap Therapeutics’ anti-DKK1 cancer treatment, DKN-01, which is now undergoing clinical studies. DKK1 is a cancer-related protein that allows tumor cells to grow uncontrollably and inhibit the immune system. DKK1 overexpression has been linked to a worse chance of survival in people with cancer.

DKN-01 is a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting DKK1, currently being developed by Leap Therapeutics for cancer treatment. The medication is now being tested in a second phase clinical study in patients with a gastroesophageal junction or gastric cancer as part of a combination therapy strategy.

The Leica Biosystems test will use Bio-RNAscope Techne’s technology on the BOND-III Automated Staining System in detecting DKK1 with high specificity and sensitivity, allowing it to aid recognize patients who are most likely to gain from DKN-01 therapies.

Senior Pharma Partnerships Director at Leica Biosystems Rachel Skelton said, “Companion Diagnostics are a step toward treating cancer patients based on the biomarker makeup of their disease. We are excited to partner with Leap to advance cancer care.”

Companion Diagnostics helps identify if a tumor has biomarkers that can be targeted

Companion Diagnostics are assays that can be performed to see if a patient’s tumor contains a biomarker that can predict how well a patient will respond to a given treatment. The Leica Biosystems Companion Diagnostics unit collaborates with pharmaceutical firms to produce assays for a wide range of technologies due to their assay development expertise, commercialization, and regulatory approval. Leica’s flexible approach to partnerships, combined with the BOND Advance Staining Solutions’ strong capabilities, helps it achieve its aim of Advancing Cancer Diagnostics, Improving Lives.

Leap Therapeutics VP and Translational Medicine Head Jason Baum said, “DKK1 is a novel and broadly applicable biomarker that is often elevated in patients with poor outcomes. Conversely, patients whose tumors express elevated levels of DKK1 have shown compelling clinical responses when treated with DKN-01-based regimens.